My husband's dream was to attend the famous Light of Day music benefit in Asbury Park, take in the Jersey Shore music scene, and hope for a Bruce sighting. The fact that LOD was in January in NJ was a bit daunting in terms of uncertain winter travel from our home on eastern Long Island, but he looked for accommodation reviews on Trip Advisor, booked the Asbury Ocean Beach Inn, and hoped for no snow.
Instead we got some of the coldest, windiest weather of the winter. But no matter, the genuine, all-enveloping warmth we experienced--from the moment he received the thorough and welcoming email reservation confirmation, through the moment we reluctantly left proprietors Betsy and Chip to return home after an amazing weekend--overcame the single digit wind chill.
It is obvious that EVERYTHING about the AOBI has been designed to create comfort, ambience, tranquility, and beauty--for all the senses. The public and private rooms are exquisitely decorated...but are not cutesy-frilly (which we hate). Betsy has imprinted them with her style--they are beautiful and comfortable, and envelop you with a sense of peace and contentment. There are bold colors, books, art, and flowers everywhere you look--just a delight.
We stayed in the Harbor Suite, one of the smaller suites of rooms, but certainly spacious enough for two. We loved the decor of crisp white walls (one lined with well-stocked book shells and Chinese import blue and white porcelains). The bed was high and fluffy with high-thread count linens and a gorgeous duvet cover in red, white, and navy florals that beautifully set off the porcelains and white walls. The adjoining sitting room had a plush khaki covered day bed lined with tons of cushy red and navy pillows, a white trunk coffee table, a side chair, reading lamp, small TV, and refrigerator. It was perfectly appointed and so relaxing.
The private bathroom is outside the room, but is literally a step away, and set apart from the main hallway, in an alcove so that privacy is assured. It is small, with a shower, but it had every amenity needed and so much charm with exposed brick wall and lovely art.
Every afternoon, Chip and Betsy delivered a snack tray with ice water, goblets, a beautifully designed fruit plate, pretzel chips or crackers, cheese or a dip, and chocolates or nuts. And it's not a tiny repast...you could make a meal of it. The fridge is stocked with bottled water as well...at no charge.
Speaking of food, as many reviewers have mentioned, Chip's breakfast is amazing. You order the night before from an extensive menu (this is hot, made to order gourmet food, not a cute B&B muffin basket that leaves you hungry in an hour), say what time you will be dining the next morning, and when you enter the lovely dining room, Betsy is waiting with coffee or tea, a warm smile, and you're settled in for a treat. The omelets are like nothing I've ever had that was called an omelet. They really need their own special name. Even over-easy eggs had Chip's special twist. I don't know what he did, but they were great! My husband is a vegetarian and said that the special meat-free sausage Chip served was so far past the typical processed food soy-sausage that he was tempted to order seconds.
We met a family from the UK at breakfast and found they, too were music lovers and Springsteen fans. We had great conversations, kept up a correspondence, and will be meeting up with them again at next year's LOD when we all stay at the AOBI. That's the kind of magic that seems to happen here.
The Inn is just a couple of blocks from the boardwalk, a few more blocks to the Stone Pony, and about 8 blocks to the Paramount and Convention Center. When we asked Betsy how far it was to the Paramount Theatre (we didn't mind the walk as we were warmly dressed in down coats). she told us, and then knowing that the concert would end about 1 am, with the temperature in the teens, she suggested that we call her and she would pick us up so we didn't freeze walking back! We insisted that wasn't necessary; she insisted that it was. We did end up walking back on our own (at nearly 2 am, but we were on a high from a great show that ended with a "surprise" 2-hour Springsteen set!), and were gently chided in the morning as Betsy said, "Why didn't you call? I would happily have picked you up. We often do that for guests!" Wow.
We can't say enough about our experience...and I'm sure there is much I've left out. We can't wait to go back. The Asbury Ocean Beach Inn feels like home, with none of the work or stress, but all of the love!
The Harbor Suite is beautiful--a little gem. Got a little too warm for sleeping (we like a cool room...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC